Josepha Sanna works for the Roche Court Educational trust, mainly within outreach for the ARTiculation prize. The programme is designed with the purpose of providing young people with a forum in which they can express their ideas about art.
We caught up with Josepha to find out about her life since graduating from AUB in 2006 as a BA (Hons) Fine Art student:
I get really nostalgic about my time at AUB (or the Arts Institute as it was then) because I had such a good time there. I had the best tutors, technicians and friends. It taught me so much about peer support and about talking through things. It took me a really long time to make any kind of work that I deemed decent, and I felt like it was a constant struggle right up until the last three or four months. But, all good stuff.
While I was a student I volunteered at the AUB gallery, helping out with the exhibitions and events, and I also volunteered at ArtSway, a contemporary art gallery in the New Forest. All of this put me in good stead as I got to chat to lots of people about their jobs, how they’d got there and why they had made certain decisions at certain points in their lives.
I was lucky to get a job as a Research Assistant almost as soon as I graduated. I was employed by AUB and ArtSway and funded by the AHRC for a project in Venice where I organised seminars and put together ArtSway’s New Forest Pavilion group exhibition catalogue. I was tasked with talking to the exhibiting artists about who they would like to commission to write a piece on them and then make it happen. The most exciting was Anne Hardy’s request to approach JG Ballard (one of my favourite authors). He declined but I’m really pleased that at some point our lives collided even if it was on an insignificant scale.
That was an 11-month project. After that I started working as a Studio Assistant for Ian McKeever, who taught me so much about life and generosity. During that time I also carried on working at ArtSway with 10 amazing artists within my role as ArtSway Associates Coordinator for three years. There I learnt so much about how the art world works and how to make things happen.
RETURNING TO UNIVERSITY
During my time as a student, I really loved writing my research project and I remember our theory tutor telling me that there was a subject called History of Art which I might be interested in doing an MA in. So, after three years of working, I decided to go back to studying and did a one-year graduate diploma course in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, which then propelled me do an MA part-time at Sussex University.
The year that I started my MA was the year that I started working on a project called ARTiculation, which I still work on. ARTiculation, in a nutshell, gets young people talking about the arts. And basically, it combines everything that I love: art, travel, giving young people confidence and learning. There’s an annual ARTiculation public speaking competition that involves over 6000 young people. It takes place across England, Scotland and now in Italy in partnership with the British Council.
ARTICULATION & PUBLIC SPEAKING
As Outreach Officer, a lot of my time revolves around organising workshops across the country and getting schools involved. Because the main element of ARTiculation is public speaking it can be daunting at first. But I find that easy to relate to, having never really had to any kind of public speaking until our Crits at AUB. But one of the things that I have learnt, and which I try to pass on, is that public speaking, like anything else, is a skill that can be developed. It’s not a quality that you are born with, it’s something you can learn. The more you do, the better you will get.
We’ve also just launched an ARTiculation Ambassadors programme, which provides training for undergraduates to deliver ARTiculation workshops and mentor those young people who want to take part in the ARTiculation Prize. We also have an ARTiculation Alumni network which covers the whole of the country.
GIVING YOUNG PEOPLE A VOICE
The success of ARTiculation relies on good partnerships, and on a whole community of galleries, museums and arts educators working together to make things happen. I feel that by giving young people a voice, and the tools to articulate themselves, a lot of change can be implemented. I’ve discovered a lot of England through ARTiculation and have met a lot of amazing people. Although I don’t make sculpture anymore, I see the work that I do as a practise and I approach it the way that I would making something three-dimensional.
I feel that Fine Artists are the most flexible and the best at making things happen because of the whole range of amazing skills that you learn and perfect over three years. When I started working, this became really apparent as I felt comfortable working collaboratively, physically making stuff, problem solving, and managing my time. I found out that I was actually really resilient. There’s a lot of talk of ‘grit’ nowadays and I think that a Fine Art course will definitely equip you with the ‘grit’ that you need to go off into whatever direction you want to.”